BookHound
Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO by Alan Burt Akers

Dray Prescot Swordships of Prescot

Swordships of Scorpio keeps up the pacing from the third book and Dray Prescot is once more thrown into a violent situation and we get a woman of color thrown into the mix. The past books have shown that Kregen is made up of men and half-men, like the Rapas and the Fristles, and also of people that have been plucked from Earth. But this is the first time a black character is introduced.

I don’t know what prompted Bulmer to address the color issue in this book, but it was quickly abandoned as Dray sets out to cross the Owlarh Waste to get to Vallia and Delia of the Blue Mountains. I thought that was a shame because I really liked the young woman he rescued, Sosie, and would have liked to know more about her and her culture. Bulmer was a gifted writer and just seemed to plop down full-bodied characters almost effortlessly. I say that, and yet I know some people thought the characters and the plots were often paper-thin.

This novel stays up close and personal on Dray as he marches for his confrontation with the Emperor to demand Delia’s hand in marriage, though Dray is somewhat uncertain about how to handle that.

However, it doesn’t take long before Dray has other problems. He gets introduced to Inch in this book (certainly one of the more colorful characters in the series, and one of my favorites). Inch comes fully equipped with “taboos” that he has to do penance for in the weirdest of ways (standing on his head), but he’s a brawler with his big axe and lanky form.

Dray ends up semi-raising Pando, who becomes a Kov (lord) in his land. I really liked the Tilda’s character when she was an entertainer a the tavern where Dray first meets her, but I think Bulmer kind of lost her character by the end of the book. That fine, boisterous woman he introduces his readers to just kind of evaporates and I still don’t know how that happened.

The book also takes a riff (at least to me) on the Conan and Belit saga when Dray meets up with Viridia, a pirate queen who’s every bit as lusty and violent and skilled as Prescot. I’m getting somewhat jaded by every woman Dray meets ending up throwing herself at his feet, but that’s the grown-up version of me. I distinctly remember my teenaged self believing this would happen.

By the end of the novel, most of the loose threads pull together and Dray has to go rescue Pando and Tilda, setting the young kov on the path to success in a mad battle. Then, just when it seems Dray can at last take up the trek to Vallia again, he’s swept away by the Scorpion and thrown back to Earth.

I enjoyed this one a lot, but I’m really looking forward to Prince of Scorpio when Dray confronts the Emperor of Vallia and is reunited with Delia.

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2 Responses to “SWORDSHIPS OF SCORPIO by Alan Burt Akers”

  1. I didn’t find this one until I’d read a lot of the other ones. I agree that Tilda never quite reached her potential and the whole pirate theme never seemed to reappear. The whole women throwing themselves at Dray is part of the fantasy, I think. Overall, I’d say this one is enjoyable but not as strong as the other ones surrounding it.

  2. Rob, evidently you and I grew up reading the same stuff! I’m gonna take a tour through the Richard Avery (Edmund Cooper) Expendables series soon. Gateway released them on ebook format too.


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